Pentagon tells military personnel not to use at-home DNA kits

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 months ago  •  13 comments

By:   Tim Stelloh and Pete Williams

Pentagon tells military personnel not to use at-home DNA kits
The Pentagon said that potential inaccuracies in at-home DNA kits pose more risk to military members than regular consumers.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Senior Pentagon officials have told members of the Armed Forces to skip what may seem like the perfect holiday gift — an at-home DNA test.

In a Dec. 20 memo obtained by NBC News, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan and James Stewart, acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, said that DNA testing companies were targeting military members with discounts and other undisclosed incentives.

“Tests that provide health information have varying levels of validity, and many are not reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration before they are offered,” the memo said.

The tests might be sold without independent confirmation of their claims, the officials said — a fact that poses more risk to military members than regular consumers. Inaccuracies could negatively affect the required disclosure of those members' medical information, the memo said.

“Moreover, there is increased concern in the scientific community that outside parties are exploiting the use of genetic materials for questionable purposes, including mass surveillance and the ability to track individuals without their authorization or awareness,” the memo said.

The officials told military personnel to refrain from using the kits until otherwise notified.

One DNA testing company, 23 and Me, told NBC News in a statement that it takes the “utmost efforts” to protect consumer privacy and ensures highly accurate results that have been authorized by government regulators.

The company added that it doesn’t share information with third parties without an explicit consent form.

Another company,, also said it doesn’t share data with insurance companies or employers.

But consumer advocates have cautioned the tens of millions of people who have used at-home DNA kits to always take a close look at the agreements that the companies require.

“Maybe you’re doing it for fun or for laughs or for conversation at the holiday table, but at the end of the day you may have a good time but the company now can sell that information 100 different ways,” Peter Pitts, of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest,   told NBC News in 2017 .

“You don’t want that information displayed to other people,” he added. “Ultimately you don’t want an employer to have access to your information.”


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1  Enoch    2 months ago

Not taking these tests is good advice. 

They are not all that accurate.

Why be upset over nothing.

Then there is the lack of privacy factor.

Compelling reasons all to just give a more conventional, non privacy invasive gift for the holidays

I know someone who took the 23 and Me home test.

Found out he is 8% sales tax.



2  Kavika     2 months ago

My at home DNA test was asking mom and dad, what are we. They replied, you're an Indian.

That was good enough for me. 

IMO this DNA testing is nothing but a scam.

3  Ed-NavDoc    2 months ago

I am quite aware of my ancestry. I don't need to pay money for someone to tell me.

The People's Fish
3.1  The People's Fish  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @3    2 months ago

You think you know and then you get the call. Jerry Springer wants to schedule you on his show and won't exactly tell you why..

3.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  The People's Fish @3.1    2 months ago


Dean Moriarty
4  Dean Moriarty    2 months ago

I didn’t know I was part Neanderthal until my brother took one of these tests. 

4.1  Kavika   replied to  Dean Moriarty @4    2 months ago

OMG, he failed the test Dean?

4.1.1  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @4.1    2 months ago


The People's Fish
4.1.2  The People's Fish  replied to  Kavika @4.1    2 months ago

Actually populations from Eastern Asia and Indigenous North Americans have a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA so it's possible Dean may be Native American.

4.1.3  Kavika   replied to  The People's Fish @4.1.2    2 months ago
 Native people also carry both Denisovan and Neanderthal DNA, and that they carry more than Europeans, is that the Denisovan and Neanderthal DNA that they carry is different than that carried by Europeans.  In fact, it appears that not all Europeans carry Denisovan DNA and this paper lowers the estimated percentage of Neanderthal for all Europeans.
The People's Fish
4.2  The People's Fish  replied to  Dean Moriarty @4    2 months ago

I learned I was part of the indigenous Germanic tribes of Europe.

So we now celebrate Leif Erikson day as he was the first to travel from Europe to North America. Tomorrow we are sacrificing a goat to please the gods.

4.2.1  1stwarrior  replied to  The People's Fish @4.2    2 months ago

BF - you're supposed to DRINK the goat's milk - not eat the goat.

The People's Fish
4.2.2  The People's Fish  replied to  1stwarrior @4.2.1    2 months ago

I'm still learning my newfound heritage. All we have is some show on the History channel.....


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